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1885 - King Solomon's Mines

HRH's first runaway success!

KING SOLOMON'S MINES was first published in one volume on September 30, 1885 by Cassell & Company in London.

According to McKay, "The first printing consisted of 2,000 copies. Of these, 1,000 copies were bound up in September, 1885, and contained at the end a catalogue of Cassell & Co. publications (8 leaves), dated August, 1885; 500 copies were bound up in October, 1885, and contained at the end a catalogue of Cassell & Co. publications (eight leaves), dated October 1885; and 500 sets of sheets were shipped to Cassell & Co., New York, where they were bound and published in November, 1885."

The catalogue at the back of the 1,000 earliest copies is date-coded 5 G. 8.85. The first 1,000 copies contain typographical errors that were corrected in later printings. The second 500 copies' catalogue is date-coded 5 G. 10.8 (the 5 is missing) and 5 B. 10.85.

Scott agrees with McKay; while Whatmore only agrees on the publication month and year, but not day.

The second printing was October 1885, the third printing November, the fourth printing was December 10, and the fifth printing was December 27. Only the first through the fifth printings have the year 1885 printed at the bottom of their title-pages. One or the other of the December 1885 printings has "Eighth Thousand" printed on its title-page, and a date-code of "1285" at the bottom of its last page.

Harpers published its first American edition in 1887.

In 1887 (supposedly the 37th thousand), the first illustrated edition was published, featuring 9 illustrations by Walter Paget.

Also in 1887 (supposedly the 53rd thousand), a total eclipse of the sun found in Chapter XI was changed to a total eclipse of the moon.

In 1905 Cassell published a new edition that features 32 illustrations by W. Russell Flint.

And, in 1912, Cassell published another new edition featuring gorgeous A.C. Michael color illustrations on 8 plates.

See the VisualHaggard.org page dedicated to the illustrations found in various editions.

I do not own any of the books pictured below, unless noted.

Sold by Sotheby's for £20,000 in 2016

1885 first London issue of the first printing of the First Edition, with typographical errors, and ads at the end date-coded "5 G. 8.85"

Notice the publisher is NOT printed on the bottom of the cloth spine for the London issue, whereas the New York issue does have it printed at the bottom

This image is Sotheby's

Sold by Heritage Auctions for $3250 in 2012

London: Cassell & Company, 1885. First printing of the first edition (with the typographical errors), the less common American issue, this copy bound in green cloth in Cassell's New York city office without publisher's catalogue at end. Original brown and white floral and star patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine.

Below, a first London issue of the first printing, with 1885 on the title-page, with all typographical errors, and with ads at the end date-code "5 G. 8.85".

The typographical errors are as follows: "Bamamgwato" on p. 10, line 14; "to let twins to live" on p. 122, line 27; and "wrod" instead of "word" in the fifth line of the note at the foot of p. 307.

The first London issue has ads at the end date-coded "5 G. 8.85"

One of the 500 copies of the first issue of 1885, this one bound in red cloth in Cassell's New York city office without publisher's catalogue at end, with floral patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine. The typographical errors are all present in the American issue of the first printing.


David Frank supplied the photos.

Below, an 1885 copy that was bound in blue cloth in Cassell's New York city office without the publisher's catalogue at end, with floral patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine.

The typographical errors are all corrected in this edition, so it is either the second printing from October 1885, the third printing from November 1885, the fourth printing from December 10, 1885, or the fifth printing from December 27, 1885.


David Frank supplied the photos.

The famous facsimile of the Map of Route to King Solomon's Mines

My 1885 copy is a rebound-in-leather second printing, from October 1885, not one of the original 2000 copies that comprise the first printing in 3 issues. All typographical errors have been corrected in this copy. It also doesn't have a date-code at the bottom of the last page. Ads at the end of the novel have date-codes of "5 G. 10.8" and "5 B. 10.85"

The first date-code on the ads is missing the "5." The date-codes signify that this copy is from October 1885.

My rebound-in-leather 1885 copy's ads at the end are date-coded "5 G. 10.8" (October 1885) and "5 B. 10.85" (October 1885).

The first date-code on the ads is missing the "5," which appears to be the same for all October 1885 copies.

My earliest 1886 copy is unrestored in its original cloth and has the date-code "20.1285" at the bottom of its last page, which signifies that this copy is from December 1885 (though with 1886 on the title-page).

It has ads dated September 1885, and ergo, is most likely either the 5th printing from December 27, 1885, or the 6th printing from January 10, 1886, or the 7th printing from January 25, 1886.

My earliest 1886 copy (with "20.1285" date-code to last page) has ads at the end with the first date-code "6 G. 9.85"

Ads at the end with the second date-code "6 B. 9.85"

My second 1886 copy, unrestored in its original cloth, also has a "20.1285" date-code (December 1885) at the bottom of its last page. However, the ads at the end are date-coded "5 G. 1.86" (January 1886).

My second 1886 copy is most likely either the 5th printing from December 27, 1885, or the 6th printing from January 10, 1886, or the 7th printing from January 25, 1886.

My third 1886 copy is unrestored in its original cloth and has the date-code "20.186" (January 1886) at the bottom of its last page. The publisher is printed at the bottom of the spine, but there are no ads at the end of the novel, therefore this is a rare New York, American issue.

Unusual blue binding

The date-code signifies that this copy is from January 1886 (see image at right). It is most likely either the the 6th printing from January 10, 1886, or the 7th printing from January 25, 1886.

My fourth 1886 copy is unrestored in its original cloth and has the date-code "20.286" at the bottom of its last page, and its ads at the end are date-coded "5 G. 1.86" and "5 B. 1.86"

The date-codes signify that this copy is from February 1886, very likely an 8th printing.

Ads at the end with the first date-code "5 G. 1.86"

Ads at the end with the second date-code "5 B. 1.86"

My fifth 1886 copy has been rebound in quarter-leather, retaining the original cloth from the boards. It has the date-code "20.286" at the bottom of its last page, while the ads at at the end are date-coded "5 G. 1.86" and "5 B. 1.86"

The date-codes signify that this copy is from February 1886, most likely an 8th printing.

My sixth 1886 copy has been rebound in half-leather and cloth. It has a date-code "20.286" at the bottom of its last page. The ads were discarded when it was rebound.

The date-code signifies that this copy is from February 1886, likely an 8th printing.

My copy of the first Harpers American edition (1887)

Harper American edition title-page

Reprint edition with 9 illustrations by Walter Paget, as well as a facsimile of the Map of Route to King Solomon's Mines

Copies of the 1905 printing with 32 new illustrations by W. Russell Flint

My copy of the revised 1912 edition (red binding) with 8 new full-page color illustrations by A.C. Michael. Then in 1915 Cassell published a blue cloth edition with only 4 of the original 8 full-page color illustrations by A.C. Michael

Circa 1920s readers Library edition. Cheaply made, but with a fantastic dust jacket. This is my copy.

Cassell reprint with original DJ

Cassell reprint with original DJ

Below is an excerpt from HRH's autobiography concerning KING SOLOMON'S MINES.

HRHonKSM

Cassell printing history, up to 1926